turning your orbit around

or... the utter enormity of the task


"the arc of a love affair...

rainbows in the high desert air."

on june 15, 2002, jenn and i were married and danced our first dance of the reception to hearts and bones, by paul simon. an odd choice for some, but with lyrics like that... well let's just say it seemed the perfect choice for our journey.

and today is one more step in our journey. today is jenn's birthday.

i woke up late this morning, struggled out of bed and didn't bother showering, threw on some gray chinos, a beat-up polo shirt and my dirty North Face hat, and stumbled into the bathroom to find...

jenn, lovelier than ever, all put together, and looking fabulous. i mean really, really cute. for god's sake, why did this woman marry me?

i'd like to share some of my favorite jenn memories:

  • coming home from the lone bar in larkspur - the spur of the moment - late one night and getting stuck at the train crossing, where we all attempted to freestyle rap as best we could. jenn had just started knitting, and her contribution went as follows... "going back to the barn, where i keep my motherf#*king yarn." those in the car (me, roberto, jamie, others???) were crying from laughing so hard.
  • sledding in 6 inches of fresh spring snow, on the lip of the grand canyon, with a couple dozen brazilian teenagers who had never sledded before (or seen snow for that matter). thanks to dennis for those very interesting and challenging youth group tours.
  • jenn dancing onstage with the samples (and timmy) at wabash college in the spring of 1998. i believe maracas were involved, but i could be mistaken. timmy later lifted his shirt and showed the whole audience his then ample belly.
  • jenn going head over handlebars on her mountain bike at jubilee state park outside of peoria; then getting up all muddy, brushing it off, and finishing the ride. she's tough.
  • jenn finally joining me in my self-induced exile in jackson, where we hiked to the top of storm king mountain and took pictures. nothing had ever felt so right.
  • watching her impressive coordination of last year's denver-wide ten year anniversary for americorps/nccc. if you need an event planned, call this woman. wow.
  • seeing her transform herself and the angry hispanic teenagers she worked with during our year of americorps in las cruces, nm. most of them loved her by the end.
  • and, finally - at a volleyball tournament in breckenridge this summer, jenn couldn't get to a ball with her upper body, so she stuck out her foot and made a foot dig. jenn and jamie went on to win the point and get third in the tournament. the mixed look of disbelief and confidence on her face after that point was awesome.
and so, i wish you a happy birthday today, sweet jenn. may your life be filled with those mixed-up moments of surprise and utter self-confidence. i love you bunches.

and bunches.

and bunches.


trip report and a song

hi all! i'm back from grand junction. stopped at this winery in palisade on the way home, did some tasting (spit buckets are for pussies), and picked up a bottle of cab sav and a merlot (yes, merlot). i really like colorado wines because they're way less refined than california wines - earthy, organic, robust, and all those other fancy wine words for unsophisticated that i can't think of right now.

here's a song that i wrote at 4 in the morning after i woke up because it was too hot and marley's damn dog elbow was in my ribs. it's kind of bleak, but it seemed appropriate to write a doomsday type song in the wee small hours.


every man has a gun in his hand
a lie in his heart
and murder in his head
unwilling and unable we come to the table
silently cursing each other
before we break bread

the nights grow long and can be had for a song
in the early wee hours
between the heat of fitful sleep
we're just mystical politicians furthering selfish missions
separating art from vision
and deciding which to keep

desperate phone calls and bullet-riddled walls
different vehicles
down the same road to ruin
dramamine and gasoline
every survivor an evacuee
where are we and what are we doing?

i assure you all, i am primarily a happy individual. have a great weekend!


22 inch rainbow (at least). Posted by Picasa

the rainbow connection

yesterday evening, i caught that big old rainbow up above.

now, i know my crappy camera phone doesn't do it justice, so let me break it down for you. the bow of my net - or opening - is 15 inches wide. the bottom of the net, where the fish is resting, is probably 13 inches wide. the fish is much longer than the bottom of the net, and as a result its head and tail are curved up about 5 inches on each end. 13 + 5+ 5 = 23 inches.

that's a 22 to 23 inch rainbow you're looking at. that's a big damn fish.

a fish like this is probably 4 or 5 years old, and will likely make it another few years. it was battle scarred on its sides, but the coloring was just a riot of reds and pinks and greens. and it gave me the longest fight i've had yet this summer - it took about 15 minutes to get the fish in. it simply would not give up. i was dragged up and down a stretch of river, across currents, above pools and below them. when it took line, it took 10 yards in about a second and a half. at one point early on, when i knew i had a big fish on but not how big, it jumped out of the water heading directly at me, cleared a good 4 feet, and landed so close to me that the splash hit my leg.

i was absolutely thrilled to land a fish like this by myself. it was kind of the culmination of my summer of fly fishing.

nerdy fly-fishing guy info (mostly for geno):
2 piece, 9 ft, 5 wt st. croix rod (jenn's new rod, actually)
9 ft 5x leader
big parachute adams as my dry fly
6x tippet for the dropper
size 20 copper beadhead zebra midge as the dropper

the fish took the midge. what a fish this big was doing feeding on an "insect" this small, i don't know. i cast up and into a current seam that's above a very slow pool, and this spot had befuddled geno and me because of how many different water speeds are running through it. i started using an upstream mend, which got me a longer more realistic dead drift. the rest is a blur.

because i'd like to use every post to write about fishing, i've decided to control myself and curtail it a bit. from here on, i'm requiring myself to write 3 normal posts for every 1 fishing post. if i can't manage this, i may start a separate fishing blog.

in other news, i go to a 2 day conference tomorrow in grand junction for marmot, the online catalog cooperative we share with several other western slope libraries. i get to sit in on a panel for the e-reserves module that we've been using, so that ought to be interesting.

and, finally, robbie dudie has a biiiiiiiig interview with the phoenix fire department on thursday morning. the man has changed his life in many good ways, committed himself to the pursuit of a very cool career, and has done a lot of work to get himself this far. i know a lot of us are real proud of him. if everyone could kind of focus their good karmic energies in the general direction of arizona at 10 a.m. pacific time this thursday, i'm pretty sure robbie would appreciate it.

that's all.


an angling revolution?

for all you non-fishing folks out there, i know you're probably tired of hearing about it. but i just have to write about last night, because...

i caught 8 fish from a spot where i'd only ever caught 2 before. a heavily pressured spot in town. in an hour.

now, it's fall, and fish are more active in the fall, so i'm sure that has something to do with it. but after this last week i really feel i'm beginning to process everything i've learned this summer. i fished water i had previously left alone because i just knew there would be fish there. that's called reading water, and i'm getting better at it. i fished a dry/dropper rig, and for the nymph i used a tiny midge imitation that caught 6 of the 8 fish (i'd never bothered with patterns this small before). and my presentation - how i delivered the fly to the fish - was just on. i put the fly wherever i wanted it on the first or second cast, and i cast to little pockets a foot to two feet wide.

all that resulted in my best night ever in town, and some beautiful fish. in fact, i'm pretty sure i fished "for the cycle": i caught several rainbows, a nice sized cutthroat, a very small brookie (i'm pretty sure it was a brookie), and i ended the night with a fantastically beautiful 16 inch brown in its fall colors. a little smaller than this guy, and waaaaay more brightly colored.

i'm taking friday off, since it's nan and gene's last full day here. tennis with nan in the morning, and fishing with geno in the afternoon.

speaking of tennis, i bought this racket - hardly used - at a garage sale for $5. i love going to rich second home-owner's garage sales.


trout bum

folks, this weekend was total flippin' awesomeness.

first off - utah's green river tailwaters below the flaming gorge dam is the prettiest river i have ever seen anywhere. red gorge walls, the most emerald green algae i've ever seen sparkling in the sun, and water so clear it looked like cold distilled vodka. and the fish.

so many fish.

i didn't catch a lot of them (just 3 to be exact), but good lord because of the clear water you could see them everywhere. and so beautiful - rainbow trout at the highlight of their fall colors.

on friday night, i hooked into possibly my biggest fish ever, but there's no knowing for sure because it got away. he just kept taking line, and at one point he almost had me into my backing (the kite-string type of line that attaches your fly line to your reel). after 10 minutes, the fish managed to wrap itself around a log and slip the hook. my heart was pounding, crushed but exhilirated.

saturday i caught 2 little ones, and a 14 or 15 incher that was the most beautiful fish i've seen yet. good times, good talk, beautiful scenery.

on sunday, geno and i peeled off from the group and drove 2 hours to fish a colorado western slope river that i won't name here, because it's just that good. had my best day ever - several footlong or shorter rainbows, another that was just shy of 20 (that i didn't get all the way in because my crappy old net was too small), and a 16 that was the last fish of the day, just before it got dark. several good-sized rocky mountain whitefish, too (basically, a tough mountain carp).

for my first time ever, i managed to match a hatch at the end of the night. the trout were rising to the surface on all these little mayflys all over the water. the last two fish went for the tiny trico pattern i tied on.

wow, do i love this stuff.


one for the ages

man oh man. if you didn't see the agassi/blake match last night, you missed a whopper. hooooly crap.

on a related note, usa network promptly left the match at the beginning of the 5th set so that it could show america a rerun of one of the thousands of "law and order" spinoffs that currently dominate the airwaves. so, rather than see a legendary u.s. open match (and it will go down as legendary), i am instead shown the new millenium's version of dragnet (you know - someone dies at the beginning, then all we see for the next 50 minutes are detectives asking questions)?!?!?!

it doesn't matter that i was able to pick up the conclusion an hour later on cbs after letterman. i will never watch the usa network ever again. never. ever.


i mean that.



just a quickie

soooooo busy right now with the start of school last week. i had 5 classes last week, and still managed to come home every night and help jenn and her dad with our bathroom remodel until 11 in the evening. took friday afternoon off and rolled around in the funky, nasty, slimy mud of our crawlspace installing the venting for the dryer. yuck.

and i mean yuck.

but, all the hard stuff is done, and all that's left is cosmetics and pvc pipe installation (easy), and we should be doing laundry in our own home by the end of the week.

went out last night and caught a fish on my first cast on a yellow humpy, which is a very general mayfly pattern. caught 2 more little guys after that, then a fat little 10 inch brown. had a big one on for about 10 seconds. he took off downstream, and just as i was calling my dad to come help with the net, he slipped the hook. devastating.

early friday morning, gene and i leave for a 3 day field trip here with our CMC flyfishing class. i'm just a little excited.